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Who Protects Us From You?

By 04.04.08

Words By Matthew Mundy & LC Weber

On April 1, 2008, the Los Angeles City Council called for a 40-hour moratorium on murder beginning on April 4th, at 6:01 p.m., to honor Martin Luther King Jr. Twenty-four hours later, they decided not to call for a murder-free weekend, but rather a peace weekend.

No, it wasn’t an April Fools joke.

At the same time, the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors – who are, if you will the overlords of Los Angeles County – passed their own 40-hour moratorium on violence, leaving mixed messages for Los Angelinos. Are they able to seriously maim people? What about manslaughter?…

The following is a discussion between TSS writers and Los Angeles residents, LC Weber and Matthew Mundy, upon hearing the news…

LC: Whoa. Mundy. Did you hear about this murder moratorium? Amazing. “Please… People. We’re asking you nicely. Don’t kill each other for like, just this weekend. Actually, we’re not even asking for two whole days. Just 40 little hours. That home stretch of eight is all yours to do with what you will – AKs… sawed-offs… shivs… come what may.”

Mundy: Yeah, I was actually wondering why they even bothered to block off some hours as violence-free – the hours between 4am-9am, for example. They clearly should have put more effort into creating a suitable violence-free timetable – one that maximizes peace efficiency in peak violence hours, while not using up valuable peace hours at times when most people are sleeping.

That said, I do like that the Board of Supervisors passed the moratorium, because even as the City Council reversed their murder moratorium for the weekend, it didn’t matter. See, City Council has authority over the city of Los Angeles, while the BOS has authority over the entire county – which includes the city. BOS trumps City Council on this one, I think, though it certainly leaves murdering and marauding residents confused about what guidelines they should be adhering to this weekend.

All this confusion, I think, points to a surge in killing leading up to 6:01pm on Friday, so look for people to be settling scores soon after work at the end of the week. Furthermore, I would like the City Council and the BOS to pass time synchronicity laws for the weekend, to make sure that everybody’s on the exact same timetable in the first place. You don’t want Joe Citizen to be killing people at, like, 6:05pm Friday, just because his watch says it’s still 5:58pm. Unless they take further, and more concrete, preparations, this could end up being a bureaucratic boondoggle, unfortunately.

LC: Agreed. I’d hate to see faux-legislation such as the aforementioned be trivialized over a little issue like time. This quasi-ordinance could bring about mass social change if executed properly… which shouldn’t be too far-fetched.

Not. A. Tall. Order. At all.

This could be the 40 hours that define a nation, Mundy. And we could be at the epicenter of history… let’s discuss book options later. I’ve been tinkering with a working title – From Homicide to Hemp: the 40 hours that brought back Arrested Development to Deuce and a Quarter Impala speakers. It’s a working title. I’m not committed to it. Just throwing it out there… keep it rattling around…

But what’s confusing here for me is, if the City Council is recalling their previous moratorium and now installing a weekend Peace effort in its place, does that leave renewed room for thrill-killing? And, as you say, what of these overlapping calls for murder stoppage? These varied rules and guidelines will certainly befuddle your average gangster. Therefore, I move we organize a town meeting in a local Cafetorium, post haste. Send out flyers for “All those who hereby intend to kill – whether justifiably or no – on this, the weekend of April 4th.” I also move we hold it at Castle Heights Elementary School near Cattaraugus and Robertson, on account of it’s walking distance from my apartment and I’m having some car issues.

Mundy: I would attend said meeting, but unfortunately I’ve decided that, until the violence moratorium starts, I won’t be going outside. It’s far too dangerous. The amount of killing that people have to get out of their systems before the weekend makes your proposition – albeit interesting – far too risky.

What I am happy about, though, is that the city and the county looks to be doing something really substantive as far as clamping down on gang violence. Something really effective. Something that resonates with all of the young gangbangers – all the young kids out hustling because, um, the legal economy has been completely and utterly closed to them for decades. Forget youth and adult employment programs, forget extending unemployment benefits, forget actually working with gang members and youth at risk of joining gangs to see what can be done to staunch the rapidly hemorrhaging wound in Los Angeles’ low-income areas. Let’s all huddle together at City Hall and sing Kumbaya, because it’s a whole lot easier to cross our fingers, close our eyes, and all jump into the rabbit hole together.

LC: Tabernacle.

Alright. I’m out. I got to go pick up my Kevlar vest I got on hold at Big Lots – it’s about to be a crazy couple days. I can’t wait for this moratorium.

M.O.P. – Put The Gun Away

L.A. City Council Rejects ‘Ban’ On Homicides [L.A. Times]


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